8 Amazing things to do in Montreal with kids – all year long

Move over culture vultures, here's why you need to visit Montreal with kids

Montreal has so many eclectic neighbourhoods with the best street festivals. (Photo credit: Marc Cramer)

Places to visit in Montreal

Guest post by Paige McEachren

Montreal is a cultural mecca with the right mix of Old World ways fused with modern culture. Offering amazing food, museums, festivals and outdoor fun year-round, there is something for kids of all ages. But with so many options, families often find it difficult to choose. Something one kids likes the others may not, and what mom and dad want to do isn’t always fun for the little ones. Here are the top things to do in Montreal with kids all year-round – as dished by a local Montreal mom. 

8 Amazing things to do in Montreal with kids - all year long

Head to the Biodome to say hello to the penguins and many different types of environments. Kids legit like it. (Photo credit: Sean O’Neil)

Visit the penguins at the Montréal Biodôme

Wander through this living nature museum with over 4,500 types of animals and plants, covering five ecosystems of the Americas. Originally built for the 1976 Olympic Games to host cycling and judo events, it is now one of the few places in the world where you can experience all four seasons indoors in one visit! Besides the penguins, which kids of all ages love, a visit is a great opportunity to climb to the top of the largest inclined tower in the world.

Insider tip: Indoor parking is expensive and there isn’t a lot of free outdoor parking nearby so you may want to opt to take the underground subway (ak.a. metro).

sharks in a tank

Why did I grab so many pictures of the Biodome? Still, it’s cool. (Photo credit: Mikala Taylor)

While in the area you may also want to check out the Botanical Garden, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and Insectarium, located just next door. Get package entrance tickets online and you’ll save money.

kids playing on playground equipment

Botanical Gardens are actually really great places for kids to chill out at. (Photo credit: Espace pour la Vie)

Family activities at the Montreal Science Centre

Interactive games, multimedia challenges and an IMAX theatre will keep young and old busy. Informative and entertaining, the Amazon 3D image film lets you awaken your inner explorer as you step into the spectacular journey of famous explorer Henry Bate during his Darwin-ish voyage cataloguing species. Although a little small, they do change the exhibits quite often and since it’s located right at the Old Port there are lots of things to do in the area.

What to do at the Old Port of Montreal

Take a stroll along the 2.7 km waterfront quai and you will find parks, food trucks, entertainers, cobblestone roads, a maze and so much more. You can zip along the MTL Zipline or check out the amusement park, Voiles en Voiles next door with seven aerial rope courses and two huge pirate ships. Your kids will have the chance to live a memorable adventure! In winter enjoy ice skating (skates available to rent) or enjoy views of the harbor and skyline in summer as you explore on a quadricycle or paddle boating.  Make sure you grab a crepe or beavertail while there!

Old port ship Montreal

This ship playground an ropes course at the Old Port is the best. (Photo credit: Madore Daphne Caron)

Free admission for kids at the Biosphere

Planet savers will love the numerous interactive exhibitions that highlight the ways we can live as eco-citizens and educate us about issue like climate change, water pollutants and more. An architectural landmark from Expo 67, take a moment to visit the observation platform before you leave for a stunning view of Montreal and the islands of Parc Jean-Drapeau! If your kids are 17 and under, they’ll receive free admission.

best instagram locations montreal

As a bonus, teens and parents can Instagram the Biosphere like crazy. (Photo credit: Orlando G. Cerocchi)

What is Montreal’s Underground City?

Montreal is famous for its Underground City, a.k.a. RESO. The 32-km network of tunnels beneath downtown Montreal connects shopping malls, seven metro stations, hotels, over 2000 stores, museums, theaters, concert halls, universities and more. The network of corridors is a great escape from the hot summer sun or cold winter weather. It can be a little confusing at first, so my tip is to be prepared to be lost. It’s a giant maze, but having a map helps. If you are really scared of getting lost, there are lots of underground walking tours to help you navigate amongst the 500,000 people who use the tunnels daily.

These are Montreal’s best family-friendly festivals

Montreal is North America’s number one host city for international events. That means there is always a festival going on. Some of the best ones for families are in summer: the Montreal International Fireworks Competition (June and July) – head to any downtown park, throw down a blanket and watch the show. The Montreal Complèment Cirque (July) features circus artists from around the world. Week-ends du Monde (July), has concerts, dance shows, and creative workshops all designed for kids 12 and under. The Montreal Jazz Festival  (June and July), provides a music-themed play area and Petite Ecole du Jazz shows with performances designed for kids and by kids. If you’re here in winter, Fête des Neiges (January and February) is the place to be with tubing, skating, sleigh rides and more at Parc Jean Drapeau.

winter carnival at night

Lumiere is geared to Millennials, but they have a ton of family activities going on, too. (Photo credit: Lumiere)

Games cafes for families in Montreal

With over 500 games available, Le Colonel Moutarde is the place for a fun family night out with teens. Only a few minutes from Mont-Royal Metro Station, this restaurant/games room/bar offers great food and a ‘game sommelier’ who will greet you and help explains the rules and choose your game.

Insider tip: This place is very busy on Friday and Saturday, so either show up early or plan on another night.

The best views of Montreal are found at….Mount Royal Park

The central park of Montreal, Mont Royal Park has almost 700 acres of nature right in the middle of downtown. In the summer this is a great place to hike, mountain bike, or rent a paddle boat or remote-control sailboat. During winter families can take part in sledding, ice skating, snowshoes and cross-country skiing, with all equipment available to rent. Winter or summer, the park has the best look out spots for a great view of the city.

mont royal park lake

Eve and friends chilling at Mount Royal one muggy summer day oh-so long ago.

Moneysaving tip: If you are only in town for a few days and really want to see everything get a ‘Passeport MTL’. For 48 or 72-hours you can move around the city with unlimited access to public transit, including the 747 Aéroport P.-E.-Trudeau shuttle. An added bonus is you get access to 23 popular attractions including the Biodôme, The Montreal Tower and more.

Have you ever been to Montreal? What were your favourite activities to do there?

Liked this post? You may also want to read:

The worst way to spend the morning in Montreal.

Paige McEachren spent over 20 years working in corporate communications for world-leading technology, health care and pharmaceutical companies. In 2015, she decided to leave the professional workplace to stay home and help her young kids navigate life with ADHD and dyslexia. When not taking care of her kids (three including her husband), she loves to plan family vacations, struggles with the love of baking and challenges herself to try new things. If she’s lucky, she finds herself a bit of quiet time. Follow Paige on Instagram or Twitter.


By | 2018-03-15T05:46:51+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Categories: Travel|Tags: , |9 Comments

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.


  1. Diana Rowe 11.03.2018 at 13:00 - Reply

    I’ve been to Montreal many years back, but would love to travel there with my grandkids. Great tips!

    • Jody 12.03.2018 at 09:54 - Reply

      You’re sure to find something for everyone.

  2. Dawn 11.03.2018 at 16:18 - Reply

    Reading this post really made me realize that as Canadians we need to do more trips closer to home. I haven’t been to Montreal in years and my kids have never been. So many great ideas of things to do…now I just need to figure out when we can go!

    • Jody 12.03.2018 at 09:54 - Reply

      I agree. We’re always looking for that sun destination or Target run, I guess.

  3. Christina 12.03.2018 at 16:49 - Reply

    Montreal is one of our favorite places to visit. We haven’t yet made it to a festival there though. Some great ideas here. Definitely interested in both the International Fireworks Competition and Montreal Complèment Cirque! Looks like a July visit is in order.

  4. Dianne Sivulka 12.03.2018 at 21:32 - Reply

    Montreal has long been on our wish list. But I had no idea there were so many family-friendly things to choose from!

  5. Tamara 13.03.2018 at 07:31 - Reply

    Glad to see we have done most of these in our two visits to Montreal! I love that city and there are so many great family activities there.

  6. Shobha George 13.03.2018 at 14:44 - Reply

    I’m planning to bring my family in Montreal soon! Great tips you have in there!

    • Jody 13.03.2018 at 19:20 - Reply

      It’s like a little bit of Europe in North America.

Leave A Comment